Re: Gender Issues in Technical Communication

Subject: Re: Gender Issues in Technical Communication
From: "Teri A. Ward" <taw0200 -at- eeidf002 -dot- ca -dot- boeing -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 17:57:21 -0700 (PDT)

> I'm
> just wondering whether many people have noticed a tendency among non-writers
> to assume that female tech writers know less than they actually do and to
> assume that male tech writers know more than they actually do.

Sometimes. About a dozen years ago I found myself on a
temporary assignment writing maintenance manuals for
aircraft manufacturing equipment. There were several
of us in the tech writing group and we had to go out
and gather information from the technicians who actually
maintained the equipment.

I was the only female, and the guys I interviewed gave
me extremely detailed information, assuming I knew nothing
about machines and equipment. (true) This made it easy
for me to write up the instructions.

As for the guys ... the technicians evidently just assumed
that since they were male they knew all about machinery.
They were lucky to get the barest minimum of info. I saw this
first-hand, as a few times I went along with one of the guys
to watch and learn something about the equipment.

However, I haven't seen too much of this during the last
8 years when I've been working with software developers.
Not sure why ......

Teri Ward


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